Friday, 26 September 2014

Let the signings begin

There had been some rain overnight.

With my gardening hat on, this was a very good thing. For weeks now we have been lugging watering cans around. My habit of keeping the garden as colourful as possible by using pots which are moved about in rotation doesn't help.

With my husband-of-a-novelist hat on, it was not quite so jolly. Today is day one of the signings (yesterday having been publication day) and it would have been more cheerful if the sun had been shining when we woke up. The plan was that at 9.30, Chris (the Random House rep for the South West) would arrive to take her off to Kingsbridge (Harbour Book Shop) and then bring her back to Totnes for this afternoon's session. These two are our most local bookshops and so this is the easiest day.

Down for breakfast. Marcia is just serving up the porridge.

'Have you written the blog?' she asked. There was a long silence.


'Are you telling me that you forgot all about it?'


'So what are you going to write about?'

'No idea.'

And, if I am honest I still have no idea. It has been 'one of those weeks' with a number of things colliding and so making sensible and cohesive thought rather difficult.

Marcia picked the last of the sweet peas. Back at the Hermitage the last was in October but not here this year. What I don't know is whether this is because we have had such a long and sunny summer with no rain (although I have kept watering them) or because we are about five hundred feet lower which means generally warmer. For the record, I sowed the first of the seeds for next year's plants a few days ago.
Marcia is in full flood with her new characters and is desperate to find out where they meet and so on. On Tuesday she disappeared to drive off on her own and then, on Wednesday, she wanted me to go with her on another trip during which we found the location of the main house in the story and then discovered that one of the places we had visited before and Marcia felt would be important probably isn't. However, late on we had another couple of ideas but it was too late to investigate them properly so yesterday she set off again – only to draw a blank in both cases.

Found this guy on the car the other morning. He (or she, of course, as the case may be) is rather splendid. Haven't had time to identify him (so all ideas welcome).
'Isn't it odd,' she remarked. 'You just can't make characters go to places you want them to unless they want to as well. It's silly really. Why can't I just tell them what I want them to do?'

I think the answer to that question is that she creates such full and rounded characters that they do have very strong personalities of their own and then cannot be persuaded to do anything that is out of character.

Marcia and I walked around the gardens here at Dartington Hall the other day. All very autumnal now.
Meanwhile, I have been finishing off what was intended to be an ebook – only to find that it just doesn't work the way I wanted it to. The technology for including lots of photographs, illustrations and so on in ebooks is very new. Sadly the results are really not that clever. Anyway, come Thursday and I was convinced that we had to return to 'plan A' – a printed version rather than an electronic one. The result was that I spent yesterday tweaking the book so as to prepare it for the printers (a job I finished late in the evening) and, as a result, I completely forgot to even think about the blog.

The schedule now is straightforward. As soon as I have finished this I shall print off a copy and over the next couple of days that will be proof-read. With any luck I shall be in the printers on Tuesday and then we shall have a better idea of when it will be ready.

If I am honest, I am quite pleased. It may be possible to republish it as an ebook at some future date but really I feel this is better as a 'proper book'.

Barney may look a bit fierce but he's just a real softy.
We had an intense love-in after I had taken his photograph.